Alleged Gang Members Indicted After NorCal Sweep

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment
Thursday that charged 29 people with alleged connections to the
notorious MS-13 street gang.

The charges come a day after authorities announced federal raids in San Francisco, Richmond and South San Francisco as part of a three-year undercover investigation.

The 52-count indictment includes charges for murder, attempted murder, alleged drug and firearms trafficking, robbery, assault and other violent crimes. More than 20 people were indicted on federal racketeering.

MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, originated in Los Angeles but has ties to El Salvador. Salvadoran police also assisted in the investigation, said Marcy Forman, an investigations director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

"With each takedown, it's a significant victory and it makes it difficult to replenish (their ranks)," U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said. "This is what the people want and need."

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris also announced state charges Thursday against four members of MS-13 - Cesar Alvarado, 18, Walter Chinchilla-Linard, 22, and two juveniles - accused in the July 31 stabbing death of 14-year-old Ivan Miranda during a robbery. Each face murder and robbery charges.

Alvarado and Chinchilla-Linard also face federal charges in the 52-count indictment.

Members of San Francisco's 20th Street clique, a faction of MS-13, have ties to at least five slayings in San Francisco, including the June 22 shooting deaths of Tony Bologna and his sons Matthew and Michael. Police said the family was mistaken for gang rivals and targeted after an earlier shooting.

MS-13 member, Edwin Ramos, faces murder charges in the Bologna slayings.

Another member, Erick Lopez, is in custody on federal weapons charges after he was found with the weapon that police said was used in the March 29 slayings of Ernad Joldic and Phillip Ng in San Francisco. Lopez hasn't been charged.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-24-08 0107EDT

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